As part of a fragmented "Kurdish world" in four regional countries - Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria - Syrian Kurds have not received much attention given to Kurdish issues in the rest of "Kurdistan", due to the fact that the fame rest of the Kurds came as a result of their revolutions and uprisings against the regional regimes and relations with international and regional powers, while the purely political struggle of the Kurds of Syria has reduced the interest of studying their conditions in media and researches about the ethnic issues. Arab nationalists have summarized the growth of Syrian Kurdish national aspirations since the founding of the state, that the issue of the Syrian Kurds does not amount to becoming an "issue", as is the Kurdish issue in Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and always through slogans that the Syrian Kurds are only an immigrant ethnic group that has settled Syria through waves of migration from Kemalist Turkey to the French Syria (1920-1945). Or that the Kurds are only Arabs lost their origins, relying on narratives that lack the scientific method when dealing with the full biography of the Kurdish presence in the Ottoman world, which has become due to the Sykes-Picot lines and the amendments that witnessed new countries, took the Kurds out of history, in favor of placing the Arabs the Turks as national states in the new history cycle for the Near East.
There is a Syrian-Kurdish affiliation to a broader Kurdish world and, in a broader sense " Kurdistan", which is an "imagined" world according to Benedict Anderson's theory in his book "The imagined Communities", reinforced by the absence or often confusion of the Syrian national identity, in other words absence of an inclusive national "imagined" absence.
The beginnings of national self-consciousness
The beginnings of Kurdish national consciousness can be traced back to the period that accompanied the influx of Turkish Kurds to Syria created according to the Sykes-Picot maps and the amendments that followed, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Ataturk Turkey in 1923, and the Kurdish movement in exile took Syria as a starting point for its political activity and a gathering of the Turkish national elites, or the elites of the same period, that produced new Arab and Armenian national classes alongside the Turkish and Kurdish. The National "missionary" activity among Syrian Kurds was led by a number of refugees to the "French Syria", most of whom were members of the Kurdish bourgeoisie who had access to high education, such as the Jamil Pasha Diyarbakirli and Badrakhan family, especially the brothers Giladat and Kamiran, as well as families who formed the body of the late Ottoman bourgeoisie, such as the Ibrahim Pasha Milli family, Hajo Agha, and the Bhutan Bey family, along with educated figures belonging to the late Ottoman body. Most nationalist activists received French support, with limited support between turning a blind eye to some activities calling for military organization and the formation of a support group for the armed movement in Turkish Kurdistan, as in the case of the adoption of the Khuyboon Society, in 1927-1946, which was the first Kurdish association calling for the liberation of Kurdistan from the "last Turkish soldier", open support for the " Akri Ararat revolution" in1930 led by General Ihsan Nuri Pasha and the formation of a military force set an hour to launch an armed wave against the Turkish forces at the border points, but France thwarted Kurdish efforts south of the railway, and this is due to vital two issues which controlled Turkey's troubled relationship with France, the first of which is Turkey's weak recovery Yeh troubled gallimaufry, the first issue was the recovery of weak Turkey, and France's desire to win its friendship, and the second issue the border agreements that came in favor of Turkey, starting from the Ankara Agreement in 1921, which called for the disarmament of the Kurdish tribes south of the Turkish border in order not to disturb Turkey.
The beginning of the creation of the Syrian Kurdish issue dated back to the French policy that encouraged minorities in self-government, where the adopted formula of sectarian and regional states, fueled the feelings of Kurdish and Christian differentiation in the Upper Mesopotamia, in the middle of rebellion in Upper Mesopotamia 1936-1937 events there was the issue of establishing Kurdish body with a Christian head and an Arab tribal presence in the upper island led by Hajo Agha in 1937. What also reinforced the Kurdish, Syrian and Armenian differentiation in the Upper Mesopotamia was the new policy adopted by the central national government with the appointment of Prince Bahjat al-Shihabi as governor of the island, and the cleansing of the administrative body in the province from Syriac and Armenian employees, "Arabization of government", and the replacement of local staff with others from Aleppo. These events can be considered the beginning of a new Kurdish orientation, separates from the previous Kurdish orientations that focused on the centrality of the Kurdish issue in Turkey, since the Khuyboon Association had stressed in its conference in Bhamdoun, Lebanon, in 1927, the need to establish "fraternal relations" with the governments of Syria and Iraq, and accepting the French Mandate instruments.
The Kurdish nationalists concentrated their efforts towards establishing social, enlightening and cultural associations and clubs, such as the Association for Cooperation and Assistance to the Poor in Al-Hasakah, the Hifi Association (Hope), and the Kurdish Youth Club in Amuda. The most common among all these civic groups is their interest in establishing a national sub-identity in the modern Syria, but these national activities have maintained their elitist character that lacks the capacity to expand horizontally. The national situation remained confined to the educated groups and some clerics and senior owners. Until the first Kurdish party in 1957nationalized the nationalism and politics to become accessible to the Syrian Kurds in general, without being limited by the old social classes.
The start of 1957 and the first party
Until 1956, the Syrian Kurds did not have their own political organization, as Syrian parties such as the Communist Party and the Syrian parties fought against them, while few nationalists preferred to live on the ruins of the remaining Khuyboun Society. In other words, the Syrian Kurds did not have a regulating framework in light of the rise of Arab nationalism with their expressions of Nasserism and, except that the active parties on the Syrian arena did not owe allegiance to Syria, and did not seek to establish the idea of universal patriotism, but rather were sub-national or supranational parties "international", and in the midst of the atmosphere of freedoms that Syria witnessed before the Syrian-Egyptian Unity (1958- 1961) Kurdish personalities sought to form the first political party to represent the Kurdish nationalists in Syria. In 1956, Osman Sabri, Abdulhamid Darwish, and Hamza Nouiran reached a common formula for the establishment of the party, but they lingered until four figures from (Afrin) to join, who were Rashid Hammu, Shawkat Hanan, Khalil Mohammed, Mohammed Ali Khoja, in addition to Sheikh Mohammed Issa Mulla Mahmoud, to establish the party, and to consider 14th of June in 1957 the official birthday, and away from the controversy about the name of the party in the beginning, whether "The Kurdish Democratic Party", or "The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)", it is known as the KDP The Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria. The party received a political program that was contributed by Jalal Talabani, who was Mullah Mustafa Barzani's envoy to Syria, in addition to the role of Iranian Kurds in supporting the party, such as Abdullah Ishaqi, Abdul Rahman Zabihi, and Noureddine Zaza was chosen as the party's president.
The party was welcomed and paid attention by the Kurds. Therefore many joined the party and the organizational field of the new Party widened. However, the party's opposition to the policy of the Unity Government (1958-1961) and its refusal to dissolve itself led to the arrest of most of its leaders in 1960, following a wide security campaign. From inside the camp, differences between the two poles began, Osman Sabri, and Noureddine Zaza, about the answers that the two men gave in response to the questions of the military investigating judge, and about what the party, whether it is a party or an association, so these theoretical differences led to split the party for the first time later on 5th of August, 1965, the Kurdish left and right was the result.
Issues of defining the party and its functions have been at the heart of the party's differences, in terms of defining the Kurdish presence. Are the Kurds a national minority in Syria or a people living on their historic land? Do the "legitimate national rights" in Kurdish party programs mean the right to self-determination or cultural and linguistic rights? Is Syria an accomplished entity for Arabs and Kurds, or is Kurdistan the ultimate homeland for the Kurds? These and other questions represented the core of the theoretical dispute between the Kurdish nationalists.
The Kurdish party polarization was exacerbated by the amount of mobilization slogans, the attempt of each party to prove its representation in the Kurdish street, the division and fragmentation of the party was increased by the role played by the Syrian intelligence services, in addition to the Kurdistan role in favor of one political group against another, and what further complicated the Syrian Kurdish scene was the unclear party programs regarding the borders of the Kurdish issue in Syria, as the Kurdish demographic distribution was in three separate pockets (Al-Jazeera, Kobani, Karadag "Afrin") in addition to the depth of areas with a predominantly Kurdish, and the presence of ethnically mixed areas, such as the case of the cities of Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad and Al-Hasaka and Qamishli the two large cities in the region. These issues and others formed the actual obstacles in attempting Iraq's Kurdistan experience, as well as Iranian Kurdistan, and thus these facts made the Kurdish Syrian scene more complex, and questions remained without any answers.
An escalating line of policies of racial discrimination and national oppression in Syria could be drawn from the years of Syrian-Egyptian unity, then the discriminatory policies launched by the secessionist government escalated to the long Baathist era. There are two critical issues which have turned into what can be termed "central issues", that occupied the Kurdish society and its party movement. The first issue was the extraordinary census in Hasakah governorate by the Legislative Decree No. 93 of 23rd of August, 1962, which stripped thousands of Kurdish citizens of their Syrian nationality. The second issue was the course of demographic change in the region, and the most severe expression was the "Arab Belt" project, which aimed to settle Arab families in the border areas, after the expropriation of Kurdish peasants and farmers, as well as the policies of discrimination in jobs and deprivation the Kurds from joining the diplomatic field and joining military colleges, denying the Kurds from expressing their national sub-identity by banning the Kurdish language, obliterating the Kurdish culture, Arabizing the names of Kurdish cities and villages, and as the Turkish thinker Ismael Besikci said, "the successive governments practiced a kind of "cultural genocide". If we are in the face of a highly authoritarian policy with a military-security complex in the general Syrian situation, then the Syrian Kurds have had to face more concentrated repression and persecution, which has led to a sense of oppression for the Kurds in Syria which was no less than the oppression of their peers in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, with one exception that the successive Syrian governments practiced ethnic persecution, but in silk gloves.
The Naked Repression 2004
On the 12th of March, 2004, the regime took off its silk gloves, which marked the way it persecuted the Kurds. After an altercation and phrases abounding with hate speech and ridicule of Kurdish symbols, the audience of the Fatwa Club, coming from Deir Ezzor, echoed during a meeting with the Jihad Club Al-Qamishli in the first League, the Syrian security forces began firing live ammunition at a number of "Jihad Club" fans, and following the deliberate killing, the spontaneous protest movement turned into what has become known in the Kurdish literature as t "March Uprising." The demonstrations extended to cover most of the Kurdish presence in northern Syria, the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo, and the capital Damascus. The regime was exaggerated in response to popular anger, as the regime forces killed more than 20 Kurdish citizens, arrested thousands, and injured dozens. The event was not a coincidence, as it was planned, because the Syrian regime was distrustful of the US occupation of Iraq and the overthrow of the Baathist rule. Mostly, the speech of US President George W. Bush concerning the regimes neighboring Iraq that would fall "like dominoes" had a painful impact on the Syrian Baath, which tried to take proactive steps, by strengthening the center of Islamic Jihad in Syria, providing logistical support to and from Iraq, and most importantly, striking the civil "cores" that the United States could rely upon once it considered a strike against the Syrian regime, so the suppression and cruelty of Damascus in dealing with the Kurdish file can be described as a pre-emptive strike in time and space. In light of the national divisions, the weak influence of the opposition, and the demise of the "Damascus Spring" phase, the events of March 2004 did not witness cases of national solidarity, except for some opposition voices, which reinforced the retreat of the Kurds widely, which may explain the Kurdish hesitation at the beginning of the Syrian intifada in 2011, the emphasis on the national rights, as a prerequisite to engage in any action that would contribute to "overthrow the regime."
Other Different Beginnings
As protests began in 2011, Syria's Kurds rushed to find an inclusive political framework that culminated in the formation of the Kurdish National Council on 26th of October, 2011, in the absence of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which refused to join the council, because it insisted to get more seats under the pretext of engaging the party affiliates such as the Star Union and the Families of Martyrs Organization.
The National Council, contained the political parties, the Kurdish coordinators and some independents, but the Kurdish divide soon became more acute with the growing strength of the PYD, which operated under the umbrella of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM). The Kurdish areas witnessed two demonstrations every Friday, meanwhile, the Council adopted the slogans raised by the Syrian demonstrations and scarred by Kurdish privacy speech, where the Council adopted the project "federalism of Kurdistan Syria," embodying an approach to the situation of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, without standing on the differences between the two regions, and in the light of the Syrian rejection of the idea of federalism at least before the "overthrowing the regime". the Kurdish parties also embraced this slogan, which was not present in the literature of most Kurdish parties before 2011. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), through its mobilization and media outlets, made a more explicit statement of privacy by raising distinctive flags and slogans different from that the country was witnessing in its protests, in addition to pumping many new concepts and words in the Syrian Kurdish political language, such as the feminist discourse, the ecological struggle, the pattern of the joint presidencies of the party and its affiliated bodies, and the adoption of the name "Rouge Ava Kurdistan" (Western Kurdistan) for the Syrian Kurdish areas, In a reference to the geography of Kurdistan. In fact the party vocabulary and ideological plan came as a revised version of the ideology of Abdullah Ocalan, who arranged them in his prison on the island of Imrali.
The Kurdish dissension has increased despite the sponsorship of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for projects aimed at joint work between the two Kurdish entities, through a series of agreements, starting with the meetings of Holler 1 and 2 and Dohuk, but they all failed.
This has exacerbated the Kurdish polarization. While the Kurdish National Council joined the National Coalition under an agreement that ignored the question of federalism, which the Council considered the crown of its political work, the PYD was quick to declare its own administration. On 23rd of November, 2013 alone, which it worked to make it a fait accompli, like the experiences of Kurdistan in Iran and Iraq, while the Kurdish Council remained closer to the exclusive national assembly of the Kurds of Syria, where there is no place in its platform for Arab Syriac - Assyrian social and political events. The " PYD" tried to build a comprehension pattern that includes Arabs and Syrians-Assyrians to the ranks of political and administrative formations.
The PYD 's shares increased as the fighting crept into the Kurdish areas. During the fighting in Ras al-Ain in Sur Kaneh 2012, the People's Protection Units YPG took the city from the Free Army and Al-Nusra Front factions, which increased the party's presence and proved the feasibility of the idea that the Syrian Kurds had a central military arm, and then with the emergence of the (ISIS), and its advance towards the Kurdish city of Kobani, and the following Kurdish network with the United States, and then with the "international coalition against ISIS" all that gave the Kurdish forces an international reputation, but the war against ISIS led to Kurdish expansion in densely populated Arab areas, and that pushed the YPG and the PYD, which became the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to change the name of the region, suggesting a policy of assimilation rather than retreat in the narrow Kurdish region. With a simple trace, pragmatic shifts can be monitored in terms of nominal adjustments to the areas of control. Initially, Kurdistan was Rogavaye, then Rojava, and later northern Syria and now it is east of the Euphrates.
In the midst of the rapid changes imposed by the Syrian war, we can only say that the conditions of the Syrian Kurds have changed in a manner not similar to the monotonous situation that characterized their situation and reality since the establishment of the Syrian entity. But it is an open reality on the possibilities between the dream of Kurdish entity under a new Syria, and the recognition of the existence and Kurdish culture and between returning the things to worse than before 2011, as the regional factor and Turkey's serious role in pursuit of Kurdish projects outside its borders, and the state of Kurdish political division, and the possibility of a gradual return of control of the regime, and the lack of clarity of the Syrian Kurdish project, and migration and displacement that harm the Kurdish areas, especially in Afrin, and the big distances between the three main Kurdish areas (Al-Jazeera, Kobani, and Karadag (Afrin)). All that imposed serious and persistent challenges, especially as the drafting of a framework that frames Kurdish rights and demands is impossible, given the disruption of democratic transition, in addition, the Kurdish political forces are pursuing populist policies, policies that say everything and do not say anything, in order to attract the street, by pumping national discourse, which is not reflected in political programs, in addition to the experimental projects that these forces are pursuing according to the current circumstances. These and other things make it impossible to draw clear boundaries for the Kurdish issue in Syria, which has been made clearer in earlier stages, where the struggle for a democratic Syria, constitutional recognition of the Kurds, equality and cultural and linguistic rights.